As Time Goes By Romps Over Santa Margarita Opponents

She looked a winner every step of the way.  The Bob Baffert-trained As Time Goes By, second to Eclipse Champion Swiss Skydiver in her most recent start, was thoroughly dominant from start to finish in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., winning by 9 ¼ lengths.  Ridden by Mike Smith, the 4-year-old daughter of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah got a mile and one eighth in 1:49.95.

A solid second, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by Swiss Skydiver in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile at Santa Anita on March 13, As Time Goes By was quick out of the gate and had well fancied Harvest Moon in pursuit up the backside.  Three furlongs out, Smith stepped on the gas with a one-length advantage and when she hit the furlong pole, As Time Goes By was eight lengths in front and well on her way to a rollicking victory.

“I was shocked (to be on the lead), I actually thought the one horse (Pharoah’s Heart) and Harvest Moon would show a little more speed,” said Smith, who won last year’s Santa Margarita with Paradise Woods and who has won the prestigious fixture for fillies and mares a total of five times.  “But today, she actually jumped really quick out of there, and she fell right into stride so nice and I just stayed out of her way.

“…She warmed up really brilliant, acted really good in the gate, stood really well.  That was really impressive today, she did that well, well in-hand and galloped out nice.  Now Bob can point her just about anywhere he wants to.”

A six-furlong maiden winner three starts back at Los Alamitos Dec. 13, As Time Goes By took a one mile allowance two starts back at Santa Anita by nine lengths on Jan. 17.  The heavy favorite today among a field of five older fillies and mares at 3-5, As Time Goes By paid $3.20, $2.40 and $2.10.

“She’s by my all-time favorite horse, American Pharoah, and I’ve taken my time,” said Baffert, who collected his second Santa Margarita win.  “The owners have been really patient.  She’s beautifully bred, and I knew the older she gets, the better she’s gonna get.  Mike is so great with these good mares and he just gets the most out of (them).

“I was debating on running her next week in Kentucky or here, but because I want to develop her slowly and the Breeders’ Cup (at Del Mar) is the main goal, we chose to stay (home)…She’s so sweet like her sire.  She’s the sweetest thing in the barn.  I have a soft spot for her, because I think of American Pharoah every time I walk by her stall.”

Owned by Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith, As Time Goes By is out of the multiple stakes winning mare Take Charge Lady.  With the Santa Margarita serving as her first stakes win, she’s now 6-3-2-1 overall.  The winner’s share of $120,000 increased her earnings to $260,600.

Trained by George Papaprodromou, This Tea was last early, saved ground around the far turn and rallied well to be second, finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of Harvest Moon.  Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, This Tea was the longest shot in the field at 31-1 and paid $10.40 and $9.40.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Harvest Moon was the second choice at 2-1 and paid $2.20 to show.

Contested for the 83rd time, dating back to 1935, today’s Santa Margarita splits were 23.17, 46.98, 1:11.36 and 1:36.70.

First post time for a 10-race card on Sunday is at 1 p.m.

The post As Time Goes By Romps Over Santa Margarita Opponents appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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